Easy-to-Assemble Frank Lloyd Wright Homes Are Here—Sort Of

A Seattle-based company is selling $300,000 kits to build low-slung structures inspired by the American architect’s Usonian homes.

A Cedar Lindal Home near Asheville, North Carolina, based on Frank Lloyd Wright’s Bachman-Wilson House. Photography by Melody Robbins, courtesy of Lindal Cedar Homes

The Download: In 1936, the writer Herbert Jacobs challenged Frank Lloyd Wright to design a high-quality house on a tight $5,000 budget ($111,000 today). Though he was accustomed to working primarily for wealthy patrons, the 69-year-old architect rose to the occasion and designed a modest, low-cost home that kickstarted a prolonged period of late-career innovation. His Usonian homes, referring to the term derived from “United States of North America,” responded directly to the landscape—they featured glass curtain walls, open-plan interiors, and natural materials like wood and stone. He’d go on to build more than 140 Usonian homes over his remaining two decades. They became prototypes for his utopian vision of Broadacre City and helped inform the ranch-style houses that populated postwar American suburbs.

Though Wright envisioned his Usonian houses with middle-class Americans in mind, owning one nowadays will cost you. That was until Lindal Cedar Homes started selling “kits” inspired by Wright’s designs. The Seattle-based company allows Wright-inspired houses to be built quickly, affordably ($300,000 for a single kit), and with minimal waste. Each of Lindal’s nine house models was designed by Aris Georges, a Wisconsin architect who studied and taught at the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture and updated them to fit contemporary living standards. Ceiling heights, for example, were raised to nine-and-a-half feet—Wright preferred low-slung buildings—while interior grids were elongated, yielding more spacious interiors.

Photography by Melody Robbins, courtesy of Lindal Cedar Homes

“In the Lindal Imagine Series, we wanted to modernize the homes themselves while remaining respectful of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian designs and underlying principles,” Georges told the New York Post. “In a Usonian home, the walls are independent elements around which space flows like water around a boulder, not like confining boxes. Walking through the house should be like talking a walk in the forest.”

The houses are even recognized by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, which emphasizes they aren’t authentic Wright structures, merely inspirations. Still, the foundation receives a small royalty whenever Lindal sells a kit. According to the Wall Street Journal, ten have been sold thus far, four finished. The modest $300,000 price tag includes the house’s post-and-beam structure and its envelope of siding, doors, and windows, but doesn’t account for interior walls, plumbing, electricity, HVAC, and landscaping. The Journal interviewed one customer in Asheville, who estimates spending $1.25 million total—still no small sum, but perhaps worth it considering the property appraised for $1.775 million. His motivation wasn’t money, though: he describes the finished structure as simply a “joy” to live in.

Photography by Melody Robbins, courtesy of Lindal Cedar Homes
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